May 3, 2015

There are curved scimitars and long broadswords in the Vampire Cowboys’ “Six Rounds of Vengeance” at the New Ohio Theater. Also arrows, pistols, homemade grenades, fists of steel, an ancient Egyptian dagger and what sounds a lot like a chain saw. “Perhaps you might want to know the reason for all this hot violence,” the gunslinger Malcolm (Sheldon Best) says. Since 2000, the dynamic, irreverent Vampire Cowboys, led by Qui Nguyen, who wrote “Six Rounds of Vengeance,” and its director, Robert Ross Parker, have been working to bring their neo-grindhouse aesthetic to downtown stages. Their work mingles genres with fanboy glee: “Six Rounds of Vengeance” relies on westerns, samurai stories, action movies, blaxploitation flicks and vampire chillers. But what sets the company even further apart from its Off Off Broadway peers is the ways in which these elements have been given a contemporary twist. Instead of making brawny straight men the heroes, the Vampire Cowboys lionize characters who are women, gay, nonwhite or nerds. There is one burly white dude in “Six Rounds.” Turns out he might be a monster. The show has way too much plot, and it would be unsporting to give its specifics away. Briefly, “Six Rounds” takes place in a post-apocalyptic Las Vegas (only slightly more terrifying than the pre-apocalyptic one) and centers on Malcolm, a former cop, who recruits two bounty hunters (Jamie Dunn and Tom Myers) to help him destroy a vampire queen (Nicky Schmidlein).